Shaun Broy, who lost his bid for the 27th District Virginia State Senate seat, has filed formal complaints with the Clarke County and Winchester city Democratic parties claiming that officers of the two forums violated party rules by endorsing the incumbent candidate Republican Jill Vogel during the recent election.
In letters filed with both the Clarke and Winchester Democratic parties, Broy alleges that Clarke County Sheriff Anthony W. Roper and Winchester Sheriff Lenny Millhollland, both members of their local Democratic Committees, supported Republican Vogel in violation of Democratic Party rules.
“Mr. Roper and Mr. Millholland blatantly supported, endorsed, and assisted Republican State Senate candidate, Jill Holtzman Vogel in the 2011 election” Broy said in complaints sent to MaryDale Jackson, Chair of the Winchester Democratic Party and Sue Liggett Clarke County Democratic Committee chair. “Mr. Roper and Mr. Millholland submitted a letter, along with other area sheriffs, to various newspapers endorsing Senator Vogel’s candidacy and appeared in numerous mailers sent out by the Republican candidate highlighting support of her candidacy.”
Broy is formally requesting that Roper and Millholland be removed from their respective Democratic Committees, an action that Broy says should be “automatic” based on a widely circulated “letter to the editor” and on a campaign flyer issued by “Vogel for Senate” late in the campaign.
Broy calls the two documents “clear and convincing evidence” of Democratic Party rule violations.
However, Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper says that at the time of his endorsement for Vogel he was not aware that Broy was the Democratic Party’s choice for the Senate race.
“During the recent campaigns for elected offices, I attended many meetings of the Democratic Party, particularly early in the summer months as the party was choosing the candidates for the November elections” Roper said on Sunday. “This included the mass meeting/caucus where the candidates were actually designated. During that process, I do not remember Mr. Broy ever being present, and he certainly never spoke to me about his campaign. I am certain that I missed meetings, but based on what I read from Mr. Broy he was seeking the Senate seat as an Independent candidate.”
At some point during the campaign season – Roper says that he’s not certain exactly when – he was asked to endorse a letter of support for Senator Vogel from several local Sheriffs. Roper says that he agreed to sign the letter because “Senator Vogel has been a steadfast supporter of Sheriffs during her tenure in the Senate, and I agreed to sign on to the letter explaining our perception of that support.”
Roper said that his support for Vogel was not a repudiation of his allegiance to the Democratic Party.
However, Broy disputes Roper’s recollection of the campaign’s chronology. Broy also says that has never been a nominee for the Independent Green party or supported an Independent Green party candidate, although Broy says that he is unsure whether or not the Independent Green party may have endorsed him at some during the campaign . However, Broy did confirm running for three days as what he termed as an “Independent Democrat” while trying to gather signatures to get on the ballot.
“I was declared the official Democratic nominee on Monday, August 15th” Broy said. “Mr. Roper was very aware that I was the Democratic nominee, when I interacted with him towards the end of the Clarke County Fair where I spent four nights at the Democratic booth. He stopped by another night as well to say ‘Hello’. He was fully aware that I was the nominee.”
Broy also says that Sheriff Roper posed for the photos with Senator Vogel well after the September 28th “letter to the editor”, which Broy says was originally written by Sheriff Millholland and then signed off on by Sheriff Roper as well as others, had been published.
“Sheriff Roper continued to support her candidacy with full knowledge of my candidacy,” Broy said.
Broy’s says that he is filing his complaint is based on the Virginia Democratic Party Plan’s Section 10.8 regarding Party Support:
“No Democratic committee member or officer of any Democratic committee shall publicly support, endorse, or assist any candidate opposed to a Democratic nominee. If a Democratic committee member is accused of undertaking such public activity, the appropriate Democratic committee shall vote on whether the member has undertaken such public activity. The member’s removal from the committee shall be automatic if the committee finds that the member has engaged in such public activity. Such action shall not be taken without at least ten (10) days written notice to the accused member and an opportunity for him or her to refute such charges.”
Broy said that weekend discussions with Winchester’s MaryDale Jackson indicated that the Winchester Democratic Party may meet as early as Monday to consider Broy’s complaint. Broy said that he had not been able to reach Clarke County Democratic Party chair Sue Liggett as of Sunday evening.
“These committees are not going to be very thrilled to say the least about this news. To be honest, that is of very little concern to me right now,” Broy said on Sunday. “They had plenty of opportunity to deal with this during the election, as letter after letter was published and mailer after mailer hit mailboxes. Their silence spoke louder than any words they could say. It is what it is, I am proud of what I was able to accomplish with very little support.”
Jill Holtzman Vogel ultimately went on to win the Virginia 27th District Senate seat with 24,532 votes to Broy’s 7,629.